Legislation Builds on Senators’ MEGABYTE Act That Has Saved Taxpayers More Than $450 Million
WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senators Gary Peters (D-MI), Chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, and Bill Cassidy (R-LA) reintroduced bipartisan legislation to save taxpayer dollars by improving management of how the federal government purchases and uses software. The bill would require agencies to conduct an independent, comprehensive assessment of their software licensing practices. This would be used by Congress, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), and the General Services Administration (GSA) to increase federal oversight of software contracts in order to streamline operations and reduce wasteful spending. The legislation builds on a law written by Peters and Cassidy to reduce duplicative software purchases called the MEGABYTE Act. Since being signed into law in 2016, this legislation has saved taxpayers more than $450 million. Peters and Cassidy authored similar legislation that advanced in the Senate last Congress.
“Improving how the government manages something as simple as the software they buy can help save taxpayers in the long run,” said Senator Peters. “By requiring federal agencies to better track their software purchases, this commonsense, bipartisan bill will reduce waste, save taxpayer dollars, strengthen cybersecurity, and modernize government operations to help ensure the federal government can more effectively serve taxpayers.”
“Taxpayers expect us to be responsible with their money. The government should not be overpaying for software when the same product is available for less,” said Dr. Cassidy. “This bill requires agencies to spend their money as if a taxpayer was spending their own money—wisely.”
Below are statements in support of the senators’ bipartisan legislation:
“We encourage policymakers to recognize the far-reaching positive impacts of this bill,” said Josh A. Rogin, Vice President of Federal Affairs for the Computer & Communications Industry Association (CCIA). “A comprehensive overview of federal software licensing will increase agency coordination and help realize new ways to advance projects which directly benefit U.S. taxpayers.”
“The government needs to know what it’s buying as agencies move rapidly to modern, secure cloud based solutions,” said Ross Nodurft, Executive Director of Alliance for Digital Innovation. “We support providing agencies with the knowledge they need to make the most informed technology decision possible to support their missions.”
“The Coalition for Fair Software Licensing applauds Senators Peters and Cassidy for their continued, bipartisan leadership on this pivotal issue,” said Coalition for Fair Software Licensing Executive Director Ryan Triplette. “Now more than ever, it is imperative that Congress prioritizes the passage of the Strengthening Agency Management and Oversight of Software Assets Act to ensure that taxpayers’ dollars are spent effectively and our federal agencies are not constrained by restrictive software licensing tactics.”
“NetChoice strongly supports this bipartisan effort and commends Senators Peters and Cassidy for reintroducing the SAMOSA Act,” said NetChoice President & CEO Steve DelBianco. “If passed this year, the SAMOSA Act would be a win for agencies, who have been pressured by incumbent software vendors for too long. It will also empower competition for contracts in the IT space, incentivizing companies to improve their product quality, security and value—a big win for taxpayers.”
Billions of dollars are spent on software purchases and license modifications every year. Agencies lack of visibility of what they have already purchased, combined with the way vendors sell software, often leads to duplicative purchases and limits agencies’ ability to conduct their own oversight of these purchases. The senators’ legislation would help agencies create a plan to purchase software in a more cost-effective manner.
The Strengthening Agency Management and Oversight of Software Assets Act would require federal agencies to provide an independent, comprehensive assessment of their software purchasing practices to Congress, OMB, and GSA. The findings of these assessments will help federal Chief Information Officers (CIOs) to better manage how agencies acquire IT products. These actions will reduce costs, improve governance, and enhance agency performance. The legislation will allow agencies to receive fairer, more cost-competitive deals on their software assets and achieve important IT modernization goals.